I almost hate to admit how much I enjoy watching Toddlers & Tiaras. In case you’ve missed it, T&T is a reality show that follows little girls (sometimes little boys) and their parents as they prepare for and compete in glitz pageants. It’s another one of those train wreck shows that is so bad, you just can’t look away.
The children featured on the show are usually 3 to 7 years old. The parents insist that competing in pageants was the child’s idea, and that the child absolutely loves everything about competing. What an empowered bunch of preschoolers!
Except, of course, they’re not. They compete because Momma (or rarely, Daddy) is living vicariously through them and attempting to make up for assorted and sundry shortcomings from their own pathetic childhoods. The stuff these poor children endure to compete is at best, damaging to the child’s self-esteem and on occasion, rises to the level of child abuse.
The parents are in it to win it and spare no expense. Aside from entry fees, they spend thousands of dollars for hair extensions, flippers (false teeth), dresses, costumes, hair stylists, make-up artists, props, coaches, hotel rooms, and transportation. The more they spend, the more trophies, tiaras, and titles they expect the little darling to win.
The titles are about what you’d expect. Prettiest Smile, Prettiest Face, Most Photogenic, Most Talented and of course, the Queens or Princesses and runners-up in each age group. The child with the most points wins the Supreme title–the golden ring all the parents covet. I think the pageants would be more interesting if they added a few more titles.
Most Likely to Become a Stripper. All the little girls are taught to shake their booties and otherwise “sell it” with youthful imitations of the stuff you see in strip clubs. Throw in the lifelong damage to their self-esteem from having to don all that crap to feel beautiful, and you’ve got a stripper in the making.
Sorest Loser. Some of the little darlings are not the least bit gracious about losing. Intentionally or not, the parents encourage this behavior by sniping about how trashy or homely the other girls look–especially those who snatch the big titles from their precious princesses.
Most Pitiful. This award is reserved for the child who is most obviously absolutely not interested in competing. He or she resists all efforts to change their appearance, cries before every performance, and has to be dragged up on the stage, kicking and screaming. The award is a visit from Child Protective Services.
Biggest Diva. A diva will do anything to get what he or she wants. It’s his or her way or no way at all. They are often rude and tend to belittle others. This title is available to both parents and contestants.
Gayest Dad. Yeah, I’ll admit this title is perhaps a tad homophobic. Just because a man is effeminate, likes to make dresses for his little girl, and enjoys choreographing her dance routines does not mean he’s gay. Wink wink.
Pushiest Momma. Some of the mothers make stage moms look like slackers. They are fully vested in the competition and willing to do whatever is necessary to give their child an edge. Pity the child or other parent who gets in their way.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m guessing you have a few suggestions, too. I’d love to see them. Leave them as a comment, right here on…
My Glass House